The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat

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Overview

November 1950, the Korean Peninsula. After General MacArthur ignores Mao's warnings and pushes his UN forces deep into North Korea, his 10,000 First Division Marines find themselves surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered by 100,000 Chinese soldiers near the Chosin Reservoir. Their only chance for survival is to fight their way south through the Toktong Pass, a narrow gorge in the Nangnim Mountains. It will need to be held open at all costs. The mission is handed to Captain William Barber and the 234 Marines of Fox...

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The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat

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Overview

November 1950, the Korean Peninsula. After General MacArthur ignores Mao's warnings and pushes his UN forces deep into North Korea, his 10,000 First Division Marines find themselves surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered by 100,000 Chinese soldiers near the Chosin Reservoir. Their only chance for survival is to fight their way south through the Toktong Pass, a narrow gorge in the Nangnim Mountains. It will need to be held open at all costs. The mission is handed to Captain William Barber and the 234 Marines of Fox Company, a courageous but undermanned unit of the First Marines. Barber and his men are ordered to climb seven miles of frozen terrain to a rocky promontory overlooking the pass. The Marines have no way of knowing that the ground they occupy---it is soon dubbed "Fox Hill"---is surrounded by 10,000 Chinese soldiers. As the sun sets on the hill, and the temperature plunges to thirty degrees below zero, Barber's men dig in for the night. At two in the morning they are awakened by the sound---bugles, whistles, cymbals, and drumbeats---of a massive assault by thousands of enemy infantry. The attack is just the first wave of four days and five nights of nearly continuous Chinese attempts to take Fox Hill, during which Barber's beleaguered company clings to the high ground and allows the First Marine Division to battle south. Amid the relentless violence, three-quarters of Fox Company's Marines are killed, wounded, or captured. Just when it looks like the outfit will be overrun, Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Davis, a fearless Marine officer who is fighting south from Chosin, volunteers to lead a force of 500 men on a daring mission that cuts a hole in the Chinese lines and relieves the men of Fox Company.

The Last Stand of Fox Company is a fast-paced and gripping account of heroism and self-sacrifice in the face of impossible odds. The authors have conducted dozens of firsthand interviews with the battle's survivors, and they narrate the story with the immediacy of such classic accounts of single battles as Guadalcanal Diary, Pork Chop Hill, and Black Hawk Down.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The authors of the bestselling Halsey's Typhoon do a fine job recounting one brutal, small-unit action during the Korean War's darkest moment. In November 1950, as General MacArthur's troops were advancing deep into North Korea, China warned that it would intervene if armies approached its border. U.S. troops were scattered through mountainous terrain at the onset of a freezing winter. Using extensive interviews with survivors, the authors tell the story of one 234-man company ordered to secure a rocky promontory overlooking the legendary Chosin Reservoir. Abundant and detailed maps enable readers to track the vicious week-long battle almost minute by minute as the men fought off repeated assaults by overwhelming Chinese forces until another marine unit arrived to rescue the few survivors. The authors draw no great lessons from Fox Company's ordeal, but deliver a precise, technically accurate account of the fighting. Although aimed at military buffs, the closeup views of individual marines tested to their limits will engage any reader curious to learn how brave men fought a conventional 20th-century war. 100,000 announced first printing; 12-city author tour.(Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Drury and Clavin (coauthors, Halsey's Typhoon) provide a gripping, firsthand account of one U.S. Marine company's dramatic, bloody combat during the Korean War, taking listeners on a journey through the harrowing, life-and-death struggle that defined the battle. Michael Prichard's (How Doctors Think) solid narration respectfully conveys these soldiers' heroism in the face of impossible odds and heightens listener interest throughout this impressive work, which successfully communicates the realities of war. Similar in approach to Linda Granfield and Russell Freedman's I Remember Korea and sure to appeal to students of history, specifically those interested in the Korean War. [Audio clip available through www.tantor.com; the Atlantic Monthly hc was described as "a strong narrative of military valor against overwhelming odds," LJ 10/15/08.—Ed.]—Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Engaging account of an important, sometimes overlooked battle of the Korean War. Drury and Clavin (Halsey's Typhoon, 2007, etc.) have mined archival material and conducted extensive interviews with veterans who participated in the Battle of Fox Hill, during which a Marine rifle company held Chinese troops at bay for five days. Facing enemies who were better equipped in temperatures reaching 30 degrees below zero, the Marines fought south through the Toktong Pass in North Korea's Nangnim Mountains. The company's leader, Capt. William E. Barber, was shot and severely wounded in the leg; refusing to be evacuated, he commanded his troops from a stretcher and was subsequently awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery. The authors are thorough, but they don't overwhelm readers with minutia in this riveting narrative, which combines drama, military strategy and human interest. They provide a palpable sense of place by including interesting background material, such as accounts by missionaries who explored the terrain in the 1600s. The book's best sections, however, paint vivid verbal pictures of the fighting: "A concussion grenade exploded in the slit trench and kicked [Pfc. Harrison] Pomers into the wall. Another bounced off his helmet and exploded just outside the trench, nearly knocking him out. He could move nothing but his left arm. He wiped his head, saw the blood on his left hand and, frantically reached for his helmet." This approach offers a fine example of historiography examining war at the micro level. Those looking for a big-picture treatment of the war should consult David Halberstam's masterful and elegantly written The Coldest Winter (2007). Drury and Clavin's prose, bycontrast, is rather pedestrian, but those who persevere will find the effort worthwhile. Substance trumps style in a book that will appeal to military history buffs and veterans. First printing of 100,000. Agent: Nat Sobel/Sobel Weber Associates
From the Publisher
"Bob Drury and Tom Clavin have set the standard for wartime accounts on the Korean conflict.... This is a story that is almost too incredible to be true." —-Dr. Charles P. Neimeyer, director of the U.S. Marine Corps History Division
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400180165
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/24/2009
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 936,123
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

Bob Drury

Tom Clavin, a contributing writer for the New York Times for fifteen years, is the author of seven books, including Dark Noon: The Final Voyage of the Fishing Boat Pelican and Raising the Rainbow Generation. Bob Drury is a contributing editor and foreign correspondent for Men's Health magazine and the author, coauthor, or editor of seven nonfiction books, including The Rescue Season.

Michael Prichard is a professional narrator and stage and film actor who has played several thousand characters during his career. An Audie Award winner, he has recorded well over five hundred books and has earned several AudioFile Earphones Awards. Michael was also named a Top Ten Golden Voice by SmartMoney magazine.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 30, 2009

    After reading this book, one begins to understand the Marine Corps motto, Semper Fi, Always Faithful

    An excellent easy-reading history relavant to our time

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2011

    A little hollywood...a lot of facts

    It was a nice read....I could do without the pullling grenade pins with your teeth baloney..Also the I cut the guy in half with a bar stuff...As US Marine I enjoy books on the Corps. But I know when its Hollywood and when its real..Fun book overall

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    great book very interesting

    a very epic thrilling and mind blowing book.very suprising lots of twists and turns overall the greatest military book i've read so far.great for someone who enjoys reading about the U.S. military.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    History as you have not seen it....

    Too often we forget what others have gone through to protect the freedoms we enjoy. This book explains the combat as well as the hardships experienced by the Marines of Fox Company in the early days of the Korean War. From the bone numbing cold to the enemy attacks to the pain of watching friends and comrads die, this book will grab your attention. Three Marines received the Medal of Honor for the actions recounted in the book. These were not super human men; they were Marines doing their job to the best of their ability. They are examples of dedication, honor and persistance.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    The Marines Are at it Again

    Men at war, in a situation where failure was not an option, in the worst deep freeze, with the fewest assets possible, is what "The Last Stand of Fox Company" brings to the table. The research was exhaustively complete with the individual stories bringing the "bravery" and "horror" of combat to the reader. It is not unusual for books on USMC deeds to bash sister services, and this was no exception, but beyond that it was a very faithful depiction of American fighting men caught up in exceptional circumstances doing exactly what Americans expect of their military. Only the soldiers at Bastogne (the Bulge)or LZ X-Ray (Vietnam) could equal these exploits!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great read!

    This book should be required reading in every American High School. The men of Fox Company should be remembered and celebrated along side our greatest heroes. I could not put the book down. The text shook me to my core. Great book, you will be glad you read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2009

    A First Rate Read!

    Everyone one should read this --- True Story --- about the "Heroic Valor" of these young men, and what they endured during a most terrible time. And endured it during a winter like no one ever sees. This book is truly an eye-opener. And it will make any person extremely grateful for what these 200 or so men did against thousands. This book is like America's Thermopylae. Only it is not a small force of Greeks fighting Xerxes 250,000 man Persian army, but a few companies of U.S. Marines taking on what seemed like the entire Chinese Red Army. These men deserve this long overdue tribute. And after reading this book, you'll be glad to say, "I'm an American"! For this is how Americans fight for their country and fight for their buddies. This is how "we", our nation, fights, and fights to win at all costs, even if it means ... sacrificing one's own life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2013

    Recommend

    The books tells the compelling story of Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines defense of the Toktong Pass during the First Marine Division's withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir. It is a quick read and would be informative to those who aren't familiar with the story of Fox Company. However, for those who are familiar with the Marine Corps, its ranks, and unit designations, the book has a number of glaring errors that should have been caught by editors such as referring to artillery batteries as companies, switching the terms forward air controller and artillery forward observer back and forth, and using ranks that don't exist such as Gunnery Master Sergeant. If you're not familiar with the Marine Corps it won't distract but as a retired Marine, the errors appear often enough to be distracting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    Excellent book.

    This book tells the reality of this "Police Action" which by all accounts was a real War. Hard to believe our guys went through such an ordeal. Great book. Great soldiers!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    Outstanding book

    This was a great book about some great Americans

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    An easy read that sucks you in from cover to cover! What a story

    An easy read that sucks you in from cover to cover! What a story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Excellent Read.

    Very good book! Thoroughly enjoyed it. Recommend it to all who enjoy reading military history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Excellent

    A must read for Korean War , well written & graphic.........Rjp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2012

    To: My favorie book

    Marines arnt soliders, there Marines, mess with the best die like the rest

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  • Posted August 14, 2011

    Unbelievable heart stopping and breathtaking

    I could not put this book down! Non-stop action and acts of courage that defy reality.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    My favorite book

    This book makes you feel like you are right next to the soldiers. I would recommend reading Colder Than Hell after this.

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Thank God this story got told!

    It is so amazing that over 50 years have passed and this story was never told until now! This is a compelling book that takes the reader into the harshest winter conditions that anyone, let alone a Marine fighting for their life, could ever endure! The authors have done an amazing job at researching and paying tribute to the men of Fox company and have written in such a fun and easy style that really lets you enjoy the book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews

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